Thunderbirds begin NOJHL final tomorrow night vs Hearst

By Matt Stefano

Three seasons ago, the Hearst Lumberjacks defeated the Soo Thunderbirds four-games-to-three in the NOJHL final to go on to win their first ever Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy.

And since then, no team was able to play for the Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy due to COVID-19.

But now, here in 2022, the same two teams will meet each other once again in this year’s NOJHL final.

And it all begins tomorrow night in downtown Sault Ste. Marie!

Tomorrow night, the Soo Thunderbirds will take on the Hearst Lumberjacks in game 1 of the NOJHL final, which will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the GFL Memorial Gardens.

The Thunderbirds, who have a perfect 8-0 record so far in this year’s postseason, will take on a Lumberjacks team that has a record of 8 wins and 5 losses.


In two meetings against the Lumberjacks during the 2021-2022 regular season, the Thunderbirds have defeated them both times and have outscored them 6-3 overall.

During the regular season series against the Lumberjacks, Thunderbirds rookie defenceman and Soo Greyhounds prospect Andrew Gibson led the way offensively with 4 points, including 2 goals and 2 assists.


The Thunderbirds finished the regular season in first place in the NOJHL standings with a record of 38 wins, 5 losses, 2 overtime losses and 3 shootout losses, good for 81 points.

Twenty-one of their 38-wins this season also came on the road, which tied their franchise record for most wins on the road during a regular season.

The Lumberjacks, meanwhile, finished the regular season in third place in the NOJHL standings with a record of 35 wins, 11 losses and 2 overtime losses, good for 72 points.

Their 35 wins also set a new team record for most wins during a regular season.


Looking at rookies now, Hearst Lumberjacks rookie forward Robbie Rutledge had a regular season to remember in 2021-2022.

Rutledge, who just turned 18-years-old back on March 11, led all NOJHL players in scoring during the regular season with 39 goals and 67 points in 46 regular season games.

The native of Severn, Ontario also became the first rookie to finish first in NOJHL scoring at the end of a regular season since Steve Harland (Powassan Voodoos) did back in 2014-2015.


Sticking with rookies, Soo Thunderbirds rookie forward and Ottawa 67’s prospect Cooper Foster is currently leading all NOJHL rookies in scoring this postseason with 6 goals and 11 points in 8 games played.

The 16-year-old was also the overtime hero in the Thunderbirds 4-3 overtime victory against the Soo Eagles in game 2 of the NOJHL West Division final back on April 20 at the John Rhodes.

(Photo of Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett credit to Bob Davies)




WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin